There was a bird in my tower. A little white bird with black speckles. It chirped and walked around the gray stone floor in front of me as if it hadn’t just entered my home.
It really didn’t bother me. I was happy for the company after, well, I didn’t really know how long I’d been here, but either way, it was nice to see something that wasn’t my own feet or the gray wall across from me.
For a long time, all I knew was silence. Even the sound of my voice had disappeared. Though, that may have been because I’d stopped speaking. Eventually, even your own company gets tiresome.
As I watched the bird with growing curiosity, my mind still muddled from the loneliness, I wondered if I was hallucinating. It wouldn’t be the first time. When you had only yourself for company, sometimes your mind did what it could to save your sanity.
I spent a whole month—or maybe it was only an hour, I didn’t know—once thinking I was having a tea party with a short old man and his crazy rabbit. A door mouse kept stealing my cup and making up such nonsense that I began to believe they were the ones who were crazy. It took me a while to figure out that it was my own mind playing with me.
If I couldn’t tell that was a hallucination, I surely didn’t trust myself enough not to be fooled by this one as well. But why a bird? Surely, if I was going to hallucinate anything, it would be getting out of here. Or maybe even a big blueberry pie. It was my favorite. Or at least, I thought it was. I hardly remembered my own face let alone what I liked or disliked.
Back to the bird. Its incessant chirping was beginning to annoy me, which could only mean the likelihood of it being real had gone considerably up.
At first, I tried to talk to the bird, but my mouth wouldn’t work from disuse, my tongue too fat for my mouth. It didn’t help that the fog in my head was thick enough to cut with a knife.
I giggled to myself, the sound foreign to me as it bounced off the walls. The sound spooked my newfound friend, who flapped its wings and flew back out the singular window in my stone prison.
Outside, there was light. How had I not noticed this? For a long time, I’d only ever seen a dullness, like I was stuck between night and day. I spent a lot of time staring at that window.
It was big enough for a person to get through and it taunted me endlessly. It would tell me, “Here’s your freedom. Come and get it.”
Even though my prison stood thousands of feet above the ground, sadly that much they let me remember. If I hadn’t been chained to the wall, I’d have happily jumped. Death had to be better than this endless nothingness. At least, that was what I told myself.
Today, however, I was happy I never took that plunge. I would have missed this change. A change I wasn’t quite sure was a good thing. Of course, anything was better than what I had, so I decided to look at the tower half full.
I giggled again. “Tower half full,” I muttered to myself, saliva falling out of my mouth as I tried to form the words.
A loud horn blared and I jerked in place. I didn’t get far, the chains bound to my arms and legs giving me barely a foot of movement where I sat on the floor.
My head swiveled to the window, and I tried to stretch myself toward it, angling my head to see out, but I was too far away. All I could see was the endless blue sky. The sounds, though, were different. I couldn’t remember what I should be hearing, but it wasn’t silence, which made it a positive in my book.
What I found most alarming was the amount of sound that began to accumulate. At first, it had been just the birds chirping, then the horns blaring, but now there was a distinct amount of voices as if a crowd had begun to gather.
This must be another trick. Some kind of illusion to torture me more. Why else would I suddenly start seeing and hearing things? Unless I’d really lost it this time.
I’d long since forgotten why I was in this tower to begin with. Counting the days had ended when I lost the will to care. I had hoped eventually I would just die, but they had made sure that would never happen. Whoever they were. That had been forgotten as well. I didn’t even remember what it felt like to be hungry or tired. Even needing to use the bathroom would have been something different. Though, thinking about it, sitting in my own filth would not have been pleasant.
A voice clear as day above the roar of the others jerked my attention back to the window. “I’m telling you, I’ll be fine.”
Someone was coming. For me to hear them, they must be close. Panic didn’t well up inside of me, there would be no point. I was helpless to whoever breached my tower walls. I couldn’t pray because I’d long learned the deities weren’t going to save me. If they were, they’d have done it a long time ago.
I waited with bated breath. Half of me hoped for my salvation and the other half for my destruction. Would today finally be the day they put me out of my misery? Had I paid enough for my crimes to be let go?
My heart, which I had almost forgot could beat, raced as a dreaded excitement filled me. I hadn't felt anything other than numbness for, well, forever. The foreign feeling in my chest as I watched the hand find a good grip ratcheted up and up until I feared my heart would jump out of my chest.
A hand curled around the stone at the bottom of the window. My head angled to the side. My eyes zeroed in on the intruder. Another hand took up residence next to the first, and then a spiky, ash blond head of hair peeked up from beneath. A full face followed it, and then a body, a clearly male form, which dragged himself over the lip of the window to land on the ground at my feet.
“Man, what a climb,” the man panted, his eyes tightly shut.
I took that moment to scan the individual. An angular face sat beneath the head of spiked up hair, his nose was straight and not at all crooked. A thin set of lips graced his face above a strong jaw, which sat on top of narrow shoulders. His clothing was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
A forest green jacket with bronze colored buttons and strange medallions decorating the shoulders fell open on the floor beside him. A black shirt stretched across his muscles, allowing me to see the defined ridges of his stomach. The shirt was tucked into a pair of pants the same color as the jacket. The pants hugged his hips, the sides of the legs poofing out at the knee before they ended in a pair of shiny black boots.
Honestly, I didn’t remember much of anything when it came to clothing. For all I knew, what he wore was perfectly normal. I’d only ever seen the flimsy white gown I’d been put in. Or put on. I wasn’t sure how I ended up in it. Just that it was there. Strange or not, I’d have been happy to wear what he wore instead.
However, I couldn’t imagine the man before me would be interested in switching outfits. The image of him wearing my gown made me giggle.
One mahogany brown eye popped open to stare at me. I didn’t bother to pretend like I wasn’t watching him. He was my delusion after all. I could stare if I wanted to.
“Adam!” a voice called out, annoyance lacing the word. Was that his name? Adam?
This Adam character scrambled to his hands and knees, his eyes scanning over me. If I could feel much of anything, I’d have said my body flushed, but alas, all I felt was numbness. What I would kill for even a stomachache.
The voice called his name again, and he turned his head slightly to the side, “I’m here. Come on up, the view is great,” he said this with a cheeky grin on his lips as he shuffled toward me.
Reaching out a hand, he cupped the side of my face, turning it more toward him. “And who might you be, sweetheart?” When I didn’t answer, his eyes and hand went to my long, pale hair. “Or maybe I should just call you Rapunzel?”
Something clicked in my mind at the name, something that made me laugh. It must have been a scary laugh, because Adam jumped away from me to stand near the window once more. Giving me a curious look, he then turned and poked his head out of the tower.
“Hurry up, would you? There’s something up here you’ve just got to see.” Adam leaned back from the window, that humorous grin still on his lips.
“So, sweetheart,” Adam began again, his hands tucked into the pockets of his pants. They looked even better on him from this angle. A strange tingling buzzed inside of me, the first hint of any sort of feeling. It was so sudden it made me gasp.
The small sound caused Adam to frown. He stared at me with a mixture of curiosity and suspicion, as if I were the one who had broken into his tower. Really, he should be so lucky.
A grunt followed by a curse was my only warning before another body came tumbling onto the floor. This time, though, the intruder didn’t fall at my feet but rather on them.
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